Excerpts from used-to-be-"fat" stories people shared after reading last month's "New Year, New You" issue.
10 pounds fell to pieces
Last year, I weighed 145 pounds and needed to lose 10 pounds in order to fit into my costumes. Certainly being in the entertainment business gives me the motivation I need to slim down.
I began 2013 by dropping alcohol. That has always been a quick way to eliminate about 3,000 calories a week.
My new story consists of me gaining the weight back over the summer as I went back to drinking beer and wine while continuing my 2.5-mile walk each day.
A girlfriend of mine sent me a hula-hoop for my birthday a few years ago and it sat in my closet until August. The hoop comes apart. I can put it in my suitcase wherever I go. I stopped drinking alcohol (again) and began hooping five minutes to my left and five minutes to my right. I increased my time to 15 minutes each way. I lost half a pound the first week and each subsequent week until I reached 132 by the end of October.
Just go on YouTube.com to find a ton of tutorials.
It's not just for women either. Using the hoop as a catalyst for exercise can open many fun doors.
CJ Harding, 65, of St. Petersburg
(She brings her Patsy Cline tribute back to St. Petersburg's Palladium Theater at 7 p.m. March 8.)
A watchful eye
I have been losing and gaining the faithful fifteen for years. I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and attended a fitness boot camp for a year and a half. I knew what to do when it came to losing weight. The challenge was in the maintenance. I would lose weight and after a period of time go back to my old habits of mindless eating and no exercise.
I became aware of an online service called My Body Tutor through a blog post.
I needed to know that someone would be holding me accountable.
I started working with Adam Gilbert, founder of My Body Tutor, in July of 2013. I lost those 15 pounds and I actually look forward to attending spin classes four days a week. This is significant because I was never a consistent exerciser in the past.
I believe that I am a changed person due to Adam.
Carolyn Stone, 58, of Temple Terrace
(Note: According to the website, the program costs $249 a month; add daily scheduled phone calls and it's $499.)
Got him running
A year ago next month, I decided to lose weight. I was at 272. I thought, wrongly, that I could exercise my way back to a healthier weight.
Turns out, diet is 90 percent of weight loss, not exercise.
I tried running and honestly and scarily, I set my stopwatch and could not run past 22 seconds!
I was mortified.
I went on a strict diet and in a few months had lost almost 40 pounds.
I ran my first 5K race in November and another one in December (the Jingle Bell run).
I now run 5Ks at least twice a week in training and am down to 216. In a perfect world, I would lose another 10 to 15 pounds, but if not, I am cool with that too.
Hank Goettelman, 67, of St. Petersburg
(A Tampa Bay Times security guard)